Drone seized by police at Los Angeles park

Los Angeles has the following law for parks: "No person shall land, release, take off or fly any balloon, except children toy balloons not inflated with any flammable material, helicopter, parakite, hang glider, aircraft or powered models thereof, except in areas specifically set aside therefor." http://www.laparks.org/venice/pdf/lamc63.pdf A compliant by the US Navy led to the seizure of a drone and citation under this law. It's important to note this operator attracted attention after he flew over a police parking lot and city attorneys advised police no laws were broken. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lapd-civilian-drone-hollywood-lot-20140801-story.html

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  • Timothy Clemans, I do not believe that a person is under any obligation in California to carry identification if that person is not operating a motor vehicle, or is a passenger on a commercial airliner.

  • I think it would have been much more appropriate if this was handled in a matter of seconds by a CIWS.

  • These situations piss me off so much that I will just stop writing before I write something I regret....I agree, though another phantom....
  • One less irresponsible operator in the skies, like @Darrell said, this could have all been avoided by asking ahead, there's a good chance they may have been allowed to photograph from approved areas of the site that didn't conflict with nearby craft.

  • What an idiot. The police officers were really friendly and respectful. Considering his behavior, I think, he got away pretty easily...

  • Darrell, 

    Who knows maybe this had little to do with photography. Maybe the Navy was concerned the drone might injury someone or give the false impression that the drone belonged to the Navy.

  • Once again, had the operator actually asked about the policy of flying a drone at that location ahead of time all of this could have been avoided. As the officer pointed out, these situations are quite new for everyone involved so it's important that everyone just communicates with each other. If you want to avoid trouble just be responsible. I think the Police were quite nice and handled this situation well. I'd really like to know the final outcome and if it is or isn't legal to photograph in that area from a UAV or not.

  • Oh another phantom..

  • @Tom,

    Given these officers didn't have a history with him I think there's a good chance he could have been given a warning. I feel they were doing a balancing act. They could have been a lot more aggressive with him like cite him for not having ID and requesting to look/seize his images. 

    I filed a public records request with the Port which was responded to within two hours. Hopefully the quick initial response means I'll get a police report within a week.

  • Correct, my mistake. Actually the Port Police is the appropriate entity to deal with this. It looks like he was flying from the parking lot of the USS Iowa Museum, which is ultimately controlled by the LA Port Authority. It's not clear from the video but it sounded like he was flying over active duty Navy ships separate from the Iowa museum. If so, he was really inviting a response.

    I suspect when the Navy called the Port Police they had to scramble to find a reason it would be illegal, and they found a good one. It had nothing to do with airspace at all, it was just a city park/harbor/beach ordinance. I got the sense the Port Police really didn't want to have to respond to this, but felt they had to, considering the source of the complaint. Based upon the initial officer's tone, I wonder if this individual would have got away with just a warning and allowed to leave with his Phantom had he not given that first officer such a difficult time.

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